How Does a Car Accident Settlement Work?
Car accidents can get complicated quickly with other drivers, insurance agencies, and potentially personal injuries and property damage. Learn how claims work and how to maximize your settlement.
A car accident is an upsetting, potentially devastating event, but it is important to try and control your emotions and start gathering information as soon as possible after the crash. This will aid your car accident settlement negotiations and you will thank yourself later.
Even if the accident is the other driver’s fault, it is important, if you are able, to obtain as much information about the accident, other driver, their insurance company, any law enforcement who arrive as well as any witnesses as you can. If possible, take pictures of the scene and be sure to get contact information.
This information will help you establish damages for your car accident settlement negotiation. Types of damages include property damage to your vehicle and items contained in your vehicle, personal injury, expenses, including car rentals, lost wages. Be sure to keep receipts, invoices, and other items that establish the amount you paid because of the accident.
This information is also important because it will help you negotiate with the other driver and their insurance company. In most car accidents, drivers deal with insurance companies, not the other driver directly. It’s important to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of the insurance company when entering into car accident settlement negotiations – to pay out as little as possible to settle the claim. Insurance companies are not in the business to help you or any other driver get a fair settlement and will use a number of arguments to try to get out of paying, including;
- They will argue that your settlement amount should be reduced because the accident was at least partially your fault;
- There is not enough information to show that they should fully pay your claims;
- Make false statements that the car accident settlement they are offering is the maximum they are permitted to give you;
- Telling you that you will have to file a lawsuit to get the damages you’ve established.
While negotiating a car accident settlement with a car insurance company, it is important to also remember that this is a business agreement for them. They will settle when it is less costly than entering litigation and going to court is expensive.
Another factor to consider in a car accident settlement is whether to get legal representation. An attorney can help you be sure you are obtaining the maximum amount you are entitled to in your car accident settlement.
Consulting with an attorney is recommended in car accidents that result in personal injuries. Insurance companies may balk at paying for medical expenses, both past and present.
Additionally, you may discover that you need extra medical care than originally thought. If you enter into a car accident settlement before evaluating your medical needs, you will not be able to go back and ask for more money to cover those additional costs.
If it looks like your car accident claim may go to court, you should consider whether you need legal representation. You should consider your willingness and ability to not only learn the laws and regulations regarding your accident, but also court rules.
Representing yourself for larger claims that will not go to small claims court is a serious endeavor requiring large time commitments to both attend court proceedings and to learn the rules that apply to your case.
If you are negotiating a car accident settlement and you are unsure about whether or not you need an attorney, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at McDonald Worley for help.